Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Gratin | December 3, 2009

A few weeks ago, after enjoying my first gratin of the season, I decided to try another version of the comfort food classic.  I wanted something a little more decadent than the turnip-parsnip dish I had previously prepared, but I didn’t want to blow a whole day’s worth of calories on one side dish.  Also, the flavor of the previous dish was pretty strong (I, for one, enjoy the taste of root veggies, but not everyone does), so I wanted to try a dish that was a bit more mellow and “mainstream.”

This squash and sweet potato number was absolutely PERFECT.  The sweetness of the butternuts and sweet potatoes was countered by the salty pancetta and parmesan, and the red pepper flakes and thyme added some depth of flavor.  The sauce was incredibly creamy and rich, despite its relatively small amount of (non-full-fat) dairy.  And the gruyere melted absolutely beautifully over the finished product, as you can see below.  I was a little bit concerned about the short boiling time for the veggies, but the texture wound up being lovely–soft, with no raw “bite,” but definitely not mushy.  Not only was this dish delicious on the night that I cooked it, but it was also surprisingly good leftover (you could certainly just nuke it in the office microwave, or you could heat it in the oven for an even better result).

This is not a one-pot dish, but it has great flavor and is incredibly comforting.  I definitely recommend giving it a try on a cold winter night.  Enjoy!

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounce pancetta, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.38 ounces  all-purpose flour, divided (about 5 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 pound baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 8 ounces sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 8 ounces butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat oven to 375°.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; cook 1 minute. Add shallots and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Weigh or lightly spoon 1.1 ounces (about 1/4 cup) flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in thyme. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; cook over medium heat until slightly thick (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly. Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano; cook 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Stir in salt and peppers. Remove from heat.

Cook baking potato in boiling water 4 minutes or until almost tender; remove with a slotted spoon. Cook sweet potato in boiling water 4 minutes or until almost tender; remove with a slotted spoon. Cook butternut squash in boiling water 4 minutes or until almost tender; drain. Sprinkle vegetables evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Arrange potatoes and squash in alternating layers in a broiler-safe 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; spoon sauce over potato mixture. Top with Gruyère. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Broil 3 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes.



  1. That looks absolutely delicious!

    Comment by Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) — December 6, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

  2. Thanks, Amanda! It turned out really well.

    Comment by bettyjoan — December 8, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  3. I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here:

    Editor and Community Developer — The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit

    Comment by Melissa — December 23, 2009 @ 12:22 am

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